Active Learning through Video Annotations

Credit: iStock.com/spawns
Credit: iStock.com/spawns

It is now well-known that good online courses should make use of the world of free, high-quality educational videos available on nearly any topic. It is also well-known that interaction with lesson content, in which students must think about the lesson material while going through it, is critical to moving the information from student working to long-term memory. But these two practices are still rarely combined. Videos are shown without interactions, making the experience analogous to watching TV.

One way to bridge this gap is with student annotations of course videos. Instructors make notes in the margins of the articles they read to assimilate the information and help them find it later, but they do not provide a way for students to do the same with the videos used in their courses. The best instructors add multiple-choice questions to their videos, which is an excellent start, but it still falls short of the mental engagement of writing down thoughts and questions about the content.


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